Changes or damage to your kidneys may cause your kidneys to fail. If your kidneys fail, your blood must be filtered (dialysis treatments) several times a week. You may also need to have a kidney transplant.
Best way to keep your kidneys healthy
- Keep your blood pressure below 140/90, or ask your doctor what the best blood pressure target is for you.
- Stay in your target cholesterol range.
- Eat foods lower in salt.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Stay active.
- Take your medications as directed.
High blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure put one in three Americans at an increased risk of developing kidney disease. But even if you don’t have any of those risk categories, it’s important to take care of these critically important organs.
- Exercise regularly. Like eating a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. But do be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned. “Overexerting yourself when you’re not in good shape can lead to serious problems, especially if you are at high risk for heart disease,” Dr. Simon Says. If you are at high risk for heart disease and don’t exercise but want to start, talk to your physician before beginning any new workout program.
- Quit smoking (and vaping!). Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer. While vaping may not expose someone to many of the toxins in tobacco smoke, the nicotine is still very addictive and hard on the body, Dr. Simon says. Plus, there are many chemicals in the vaping solutions.